189 police officers have been convicted across 12 police forces in England in Wales in five years since 2013 , according to a recent FOI request (source: The Telegraph). This equates to just 37.8 police officer convictions each year.
According to Full Fact, there were 126, 300 total police officers in England and Wales in March 2019.
This gives us a police officer conviction rate of 0.03% per year – that is to say that 0.03% of police officers are convicted of a crime each year.
1.38 million people in the general population were prosecuted in the year (CJS Stats, 2018)
A very rough estimate for the number of adults in England and Wales is around 50 million, so this gives us a rough adult conviction rate of 2.76 per year.
This means the Police officer conviction rate is 100 times less than that for the population as a whole.
How accurate are these statistics?
Personally I’m sceptical about the police officer conviction rate.
Despite the fact that the police probably are less likely to commit crime – I mean it kind of goes with the job, not committing crime, and then there’s the embarrassment of getting caught even if you are criminally inclined, which I imagine would be a further deterrent, I still think there’s a lot of criminal police officers whose crimes are just not getting detected.
I imagine you’d be less likely to be suspected of a crime – I mean the police themselves aren’t going to get stopped and searched are they?
Then there’s the fact that prosecutors might be more reluctant to prosecute police because it makes the system look flawed.
Then of course there’s all those things which won’t be defined as criminal because it’s the police doing them in the line of duty – such as speeding and violence, and drug possession come to think of it.
I think the Tree Map is the best way of providing an overview of the different types of school in the UK. As you can see from the tree map below, there are A LOT more primary schools than secondary schools in the UK, and primary and secondary together (unsurprisingly) account for most of the schools in the UK. In contrast, there are hardly any Pupil Referral Units.
NB – make sure you’ve only got one year box checked, otherwise you get totals of the years checked, which is pointless!
The limitations of the Tree Map Visualization
Although (IMO) this type of viz provides the best ‘frozen in time’ overview, it doesn’t actually allow you to make comparisons across time very easily, because you can only see the distribution for one year at a time.
One could overcome this by having two or more tree maps on display at once, but this still wouldn’t make for easy comparison as the layout of the boxes is likely to change as the data changes. To show changes over time effectively you need different types of visualization:
Changing schools viz 1
This is the most basic type of viz showing changes over time…
Changing schools viz 2
I think viz 2 is much better as the fill gives you a much more immediate impression of how many of each type of school there is.
Changing schools viz 3
Given the relatively small amount of data for this particular viz I think this works quite nicely too, gives you a bit more of a sense of the relative numbers and much better for highlighting smaller numbers…
How useful are these visualizations?
As they stand they only show us a very general level of information, with no granularity. All of these vizes could be much more useful if you could ‘drill down’ into the data to see how the stats vary by England, Wales and Scotland.
Also, these have been designed as only the first stage in a story which also focus in on pupil numbers in different school types (also in relation to pupil types – male/ female etc.), and teacher numbers and teacher-student ratios.
What can prison population statistics tell us about Crime Control in the UK? Is Prison an effective strategy for controlling crime?
These are questions that should be of interest to any student studying the Crime and Deviance option within A-level sociology.
Scotland, England and Wales have high prison populations
In England and Wales we lock up 40% more people than in France and almost twice as many people as they do in Germany, which are broadly comparable countries.
Yet there is no link between the prison population and levels of crime
England and wales have seen a rising prison population and a rising then a rapidly falling crime rate
Finland has seen a declining prison population and a rising and then a gradually declining crime rate.
Canada has seen a broadly level prison population and yet a relatively stable crime rate.
Most people are serving short sentences for non-violent offences
Nearly 70% of the prison population are in for non-violent offences – which means that 30% are in for violent offences. In those prisons where the two populations are mixed, this must be awful for some of those non-violent offenders.
People are getting sentenced for longer
I’m not sure what’s underlying this rise in more serious offences …. the most obvious long-sentence crime of murder has decreased in recent years, so maybe this is for violent gang related and terrorist related crimes which involve in harm rather than death ? Something to research further!
Does Prison work?
In short, if controlling crime is what you hope to achieve, then no it doesn’t because nearly 50% of those sent to prison are recalled within 1 year of being released.
However, there are more reasons why you might want to lock people up other than just rehabilitating them and preventing future offending – there is an argument that they just deserve to be punished whether they reoffend or not.
How do community service orders and suspended sentences compare to prison?
it seems that both of these are more effective at preventing reoffending, but the difference isn’t that great:
63% of people who serve sentences of less than 12 months reoffend compared to
56% of those who receive community orders and compared to
54% of those who receive suspended sentences.
HOWEVER, this may be due to the fact that those avoiding jail have different circumstances and/ or different characters to those who do go to jail – they might just be the kinds of people less likely to reoffend already!
Overall these prison statistics suggest that while we like to lock people up in England and Wales, there is little evidence that doing so prevents crime.
Maybe we should be looking for cheaper and more effective solutions – such as early intervention (initially expensive but cheaper than several years in and out of jail), or public shaming for example?
The easy answer is to say around 22% of the population, roughly 14 million people. The long answer starts with the sentence ‘it depends on how you define and measure poverty’, in which case you get various different statistics on the poverty rate.
22% of the UK population are in poverty, equivalent to 14.2 million people: 8.4 million working-age adults; 4.5 million children; and 1.4 million pension age adults. Source: The Social Metrics Foundation, 2018.
1% of the total UK population (7. 7 million people) live in persistent poverty. Source: The Social Metrics Foundation, 2018.
This definition of poverty is broader than any previous definition because:
It takes account of all material resources not just incomes. For instance, this means including an assessment of the available assets that families have; •
It takes into accounts the inescapable costs that some families face, which make them more likely than others to experience poverty, such as the extra costs of disability, and costs of childcare and rental and mortgage costs; •
It automatically defines anyone who is ‘sleeping rough’ as being in poverty.
However, it also sets the relative poverty line at 55% of median income rather than 60^ of median income (as the government has done for many years), seemingly because to keep it at 60% while making all of the other changes above would put too many people in poverty?!? See page 63 of the report for more details:
According to the Government’s own data:
16% of UK households were in relative low income households (before housing costs)
22% of UK households were in relative low income households (after housing costs).
Relative low income households have an income of less than 60% of median household income (equivalised), which is equivalent to £296 per week (or approximately £1000 per month). Source: Households Below Average Income, published March 2018.
7.3% of the UK population (4.6 million people) are in persistent poverty. This study defines ‘persistent poverty as being in a relative low income household (using the BHAI definition of this) consistently for 3 years. Source: Persistent Poverty in the UK and the EU: 2015.
Which of these is the most valid measurement of poverty?
You’ll notice that there’s some different between these figures, especially between the Social Metric Commissions’ persistent poverty rate and the ONS’ poverty rate – 12% compared to 7%, so it really matters which of these is the most valid!
Given that the Social Metrics Commission’s definition was agreed by a large panel of people, which included government representation, I’m going to say the SMC’s definition/ measurement is the most valid.
The relationship between social class and religion is not straightforward: the middle classes are, in general, more likely to attend church, but they are also less likely to believe in God and more likely to be atheists and join both world affirming and world rejecting NRMs.
The working classes are less likely to attend church, yet more likely to believe in God than the middle classes. There are also certain denominations and even sects which might appeal specifically to the working classes: such as Methodism, for example.
Church attendance and social class
The ‘middle classes’ have higher rates of church attendance than the ‘working classes’
A 2015 YouGov survey of 7000 adults found that 62% of regular church goers were middle class and 38% working class.
The same 2015 survey found that twice as many married working class men had never attended church compared to middle class men (17% compared to 9%).
Voas and Watt (2014) conducted research on behalf of the Church of England and made three observations not directly about social class, but relevant to it. Firstly, church attendance is higher in rural areas compared to urban areas. Secondly, church attendance is higher in the South of England compared to the North. Thirdly, they noted growth in church attendance in areas which had high performing church primary and secondary schools. All of these indicators suggest higher church attendance in middle class compared to working class areas.
Ashworth and Farthing (2007) found that, for both sexes, those in middle class jobs had above average levels of church attendance. Conversely, those in skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled working class jobs had below average church attendance. Welfare recipients had the lowest levels of church attendance.
Religious belief and social class
A 2016 YouGov Survey revealed that 48% of those in social grades ABC1 described themselves as ‘Atheist’ compared to 42% of those in social grades C2ED.
A 2013 review of >60 research studies on the relationship between IQ and religiosity found that people with higher IQs are more likely to be atheists. (High IQs are correlated with higher levels of education and higher social class).
Lawes (2009) found that ‘lifelong theists’ disproportionately come from unskilled and semi-skilled manual backgrounds, and were less likely to have academic qualifications. Conversely, lifelong atheists disproportionately come from higher professional and managerial backgrounds, and are more likely to have experienced higher education.
NB – It’s worth noting how this contradicts what’s above in terms of church attendance
Social class, religion and deprivation
There is some evidence that those suffering deprivation (the lower social classes) are more likely to turn to religion…..
Churches in deprived inner city areas tend to have higher rates of attendance.
Methodist, Pentacostal and Baptist denominations tend to be more working class.
Catholic Churches are more likely to attract Irish, Polish and African immigrants who have typically experienced higher levels of deprivation.
New Religious Movements and social class
As a general rule, the middle classes are more attracted to both World Affirming NRMs (and the New Age Movement), and World Rejecting NRMs, at least according to Eileen Barker’s classic study of ‘The Moonies’.
Problems with identifying the relationship between religion and social class
Andrew Mckinnon notes that there has been a ‘dearth’ of research on the relationship between religion and social class, meaning there is something of a data gap.
Because of the above, we are often stuck with relying on indicators which might not actually measure social class.
Even if the data suggests that church attendance and belief are higher among the middle classes, this doesn’t necessarily mean the middle classes are actually more religious. They may just be attending church to keep up appearances or to get their children into the local church school (which tend to have high academic performance); or they may feel under more social pressure to state they are religious than the working classes
Chapman et al, as well as the good ole’ t’internet.
The new ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption should be none, at least according to a recent study into the health risks of alcohol published by the The Lancet.
This contradicts the current official government guidelines on the ‘safe’ level of drinking: currently around 14 units per week for women, and 21 for men.
The findings of this research study were widely reported in the mainstream media:
The Daily Mail reported that ‘just one glass of wine a day increases your risk of various cancers’.
Even The Independent reported that ‘the idea that one or two drinks a day is good for you is a myth’.
But what are the actual statistical risks of different levels of alcohol consumption?
The actual risk of developing a drink related alcohol problem for different levels of drinking are as follows:
No drinks a day = 914/ 100 000 people
One drink a day = 918/ 100 000 people
Two drinks a day = 977/ 100 000 people
I took the liberty of putting this into graph form to illustrate the relative risks: blue shows the proportion of people who will develop alcohol related problems!
This means that statistically, there is only a 0.5 % greater risk of developing an alcohol related illness if you have one drink a day compared to no drinks, which hardly sounds significant!
Meanwhile, there is a greater increase in risk if you have two compared to 1 drink a day, which suggests the government guidelines have got this about right!
(NB, despite the headlines, The BBC and Sky did a reasonable job of reporting the actual stats!)
So why did some news papers report these findings in a limited way?
This could be a classic example of News Values determining how an event gets reported: it’s much more shocking to report that the government has got its advice wrong and that really there is no safe level of drinking!
Or it could be that these newspapers feel as though they’ve got a social policy duty to the general public… even if there is only a slight increased risk from alcohol consumption, maybe they feel duty bound to report it in such a way to nudge behaviour in a more healthy direction.
In terms of why some newspapers did a better job of reporting the actual findings: it could be that these are the papers who rely on advertising revenue from drinks companies? Maybe the Mail and the Independent don’t get paid by drinks companies, whereas Sky does>?
This post will also be published to the steem blockchain: where you can get rewarded in crypto currency for posting, liking, commenting and so on!
Secularization is the declining social significance of religion in society.
The extent of secularization is usually ascertained (for the purposes of A-level sociology) by using three broad indicators: belonging, behaving, and belief, and there are numerous specific measures associated with each indicator.
This post aims to provide brief revision notes on some of the contemporary evidence for secularization.
Evidence for secularization: statistics on religious belonging
According to a recent British Social Attitudes Survey (1) based on a sample of just under 3000 respondents (conducted 2016, published 2017):
Only 15% of UK adults describe themselves as ‘Anglican’, compared to around 33% of the population at the turn of the century and more than 60% in the early 1960s (1)
Just 3% of those aged 18-24 described themselves as Anglican, compared to 40% of those aged 75 and over (1).
53% of UK adults describe themselves as having ‘no religion’, up from 31% in 1983 (1)
71% of 18-24 year olds describe themselves as having ‘no religion’ up from
According to the United Kingdom Census of 2011 (3), which is based on a near 100% sample of the UK population:
59.3% of the population reported to be Christian, down from 71.7 per cent in 2001 to 59.3 per cent in 2011, and
25.1% of the population reported having ‘no religion’, up from 14.8 per cent of the population in 2001.
There was an increase in all other main religions. The number of Muslims increased the most from 3.0 per cent in 2001 to 4.8 per cent in 2011.
NB – This final piece of evidence: the increasing reported popularity of all other religions besides Christianity cannot really be taken as evidence against secularization because the overall increase of all these other religions is smaller than the increase in the number of people reporting ‘no religion’ in the same period. It does, however, suggest increasing religious diversity.
Evidence for secularization: statistics on religious behaviour
According to the Church of England’s own data (4), both church attendance and attendance at ‘hatching, matching and dispatching’ (baptism/ marriage/ funeral) ceremonies are falling.
The 2016 figures show:
Usual Sunday attendance at Church of England churches in 2016 was 740,000 people (86% adults, 14% children under 16).
There were 120,000 Church of England baptisms and services of thanksgiving for the gift of a child – representing 10% of live births.
There were 45,000 Church of England marriages and services of prayer and dedication after civil marriages – just 20% of marriages.
There were 139,000 Church of England-led funerals during 2016, 57% of which took place in churches and 43% at crematoria/cemeteries – 28% of funerals. The higher percentage probably reflects the greater proclivity for people near death to ‘find’ ‘comfort’ in ‘religion’.
The church of England notes that most of its headline indicators show a decline of 10-15% over the last decade, since 2006.
Evidence for Secularization: Statistics on Religious Belief
Religious belief is a notoriously subjective concept: while the statistics in the first section above suggest secularization is taking place, it is possible to declare that you belong to ‘no religion’ while still having religious beliefs, so we need to dig a little deeper into the exact nature of individuals’ spiritual beliefs in order to properly assess whether secularization is taking place.
When we do this, most of the evidence suggests that secularization is occurring, although possibly not as quickly as the decline in support for traditional religion would suggests.
A 2015 YouGov poll revealed that 33% of Britons ‘do not believe in God or a higher spiritual power’, up from 29% in 2012.
The same poll revealed that younger people are more likely to not believe in any type of higher power compared to older people – only 25% of 18-24 year olds believe in God or some other kind of higher power compared to over 40% of over 60 year olds.
The latest crime figures show an increase in the overall number of crimes committed in England and Wales, for the year ending March 2018. The overall numbers of crimes have increased from approximately 5.8 million in 2016-17 to 6 million crimes in 2017-18 (excluding ‘computer misuse’).
While this may seem like a relatively small increase, this follows a 7 year downward trend in the overall crime rate. And if we drill down into different types of crime, we find that some crime categories have seen dramatic rises in recent years: Robbery is up 30%, and knife crime is up 16% for example.
These figures are taken from the Crime Survey of England and Wales, a victim survey which is widely regarded as having greater validity as a measure of crime compared to Police Recorded Crime Statistics.
As you might expect, the mainstream newspapers have been all over this. Typically the press blames the move away from more authoritarian forms of crime control associated with Right Realism and blames soft-touch Left Realist style policies for the increase in crime.
The Daily Mail has recently reported on how rural crime, as well as urban crime is spiraling out of control. The Sunday Telegraph has blamed the government’s ‘too soft’ approach to crime control, which focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The Independent commented that the Tories might be blame for this increase in crime because they have cut funding to the police, resulting in fewer officers.
However, the theory that ‘soft touch’ approaches and fewer police officers may well be insufficient to explain why crime is increasing. For example, police numbers have been going down for years, while crime has also been going down:
The truth is probably more complex: it might just be that there are different causes of crime in different areas, and different causes of different crimes…. so perhaps we should steer clear of over-generalizing!
Here’s a print version of the stats in case the above isn’t that legible! (If it’s not, I might try and sort it out laters!).
What’s particularly encouraging about this is that this in the context of declining numbers of 17-18 year olds in the corresponding birth years stretching from 1996-2000, and the corresponding decrease in overall A-level entries.
It’s also interesting to note that more traditional subjects such as History and English are losing out to ‘newer’ more critical subjects such as Sociology. Psychology also saw a similar trend.
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